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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance 367

Doofus writes: "The Wall Street Journal has an eye-catching headline: Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class. Quoting: 'According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can't find qualified workers. To help produce a new generation of welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, carpenters, machinists and other skilled tradesmen, high schools should introduce students to the pleasure and pride they can take in making and building things in shop class. American employers are so yearning to motivate young people to work in manufacturing and the skilled trades that many are willing to pay to train and recruit future laborers. CEO Karen Wright of Ariel Corp. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, recently announced that the manufacturer of gas compressors is donating $1 million to the Knox County Career Center to update the center's computer-integrated manufacturing equipment, so students can train on the same machines used in Ariel's operations.' How many of us liked shop? How many young people should be training for skilled manufacturing and service jobs rather than getting history or political science degrees?"
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

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  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:47PM (#46826849) Homepage

    Where the hell are welders making 150k???


  • Can't find welders? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:49PM (#46826867) Homepage Journal
    Given the number of fabrication shops that have closed or gone overseas and laid off welders in the past two decades, I find it highly suspicious that companies can't find people to fill their positions. Is this like the H1B "crisis" where Silicon Valley firms can't find tech workers anywhere locally, but it turns out they're asking for DBA administrators with 15 years of experience on 5 different platforms plus 10 years coding experience with 8 different languages and can sysadmin server clusters that are willing to start people at $40k/year? I mean yeah, that guy in India said he could do it at that price, why can't we bring him over here?
  • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:50PM (#46826877)

    From the article:
    A good trade to consider: welding. I recently visited Pioneer Pipe in the Utica and Marcellus shale area of Ohio and learned that last year the company paid 60 of its welders more than $150,000 and two of its welders over $200,000. The owner, Dave Archer, said he has had to turn down orders because he can't find enough skilled welders.

    So, the answer to your question is: "Pioneer Pipe in the Utica and Marcellus shale area of Ohio"

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:07PM (#46827083)

    Move to the country, I had shop in high school available all the way from woodworking and drafting to metal working to engine repair. Granted, that was about 10 years ago, but so far as I know the classes are still offered (they were quite popular when I was there).

  • by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:08PM (#46827093)

    Is that welder working in an oil field? There are a HUGE number of extra qualifications and certifications you need to be a pipe or tank welder. I speak from project management experience that these guys get paid very well and it is hard to find enough good ones.

  • by zarthrag ( 650912 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:09PM (#46827107)

    There's probably some consideration to the *type* of welding and the conditions you must do it in. Tig Welding [wikipedia.org] requires *considerably* more skill/experience/mastery than simple brazing and stick welding. There's the added bonus that if you do it wrong, you DIE. In which case, such welders can command a premium for their skills - as they should.

  • Re:LOL ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:20PM (#46827233)

    As many as possible. I've said for years the real money lies in being a welder, plumber, or an electrician.

    But have you tried backing it up with any facts? People keep repeating it, but the statistics keep insisting otherwise [bls.gov]. You can point to an anecdote about a welder who made $150K in a year. The trouble is showing that large numbers of young people could all become welders who make $150K per year. On average, welders make $32,000 per year [indeed.com]. And that's among welders who actually hold a job as a welder.

  • Re:LOL ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by edremy ( 36408 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:43PM (#46827473) Journal

    Now, if a pilot starts out in the military (where they don't have to pay for flight school)

    Unless things have changed since I was in, only officers* fly in the military, and in order to be an officer, you need a university degree. That means taking on student debt and being tied down for at least the length of a commission, so if you just want to fly for a living, it would make more sense to just go straight to flight school instead of considering the military a path to riches.

    (* Or warrant officers, but that also requires considerable experience behind you as an enlisted man. You don't just start off flying.)

    Except if you go to the Air Force Academy, where it's free. Or join ROTC at a school and get your tuition picked up. Either way you can get out of college for waaay less than someone who doesn't join up

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?